Posted by Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman
Big Country Puppets -a week of performances
What a big week it was - the Big Country Puppets were invited to perform alongside the Dreamtime Dancers in the week leading up to the Shinju Matsuri opening Parade. The Pelican, Gouldian Finch and Pandanus were well received and managed to avoid a puppet BBQ before the night fell on us. After two beautiful evenings in Minyirr Park, we were all set for Shinju.
With the blue Jila Junk Band in place from beginning of the parade - the puppets tramped out of the Courthouse gardens and took their position in the parade. Parade goers looked on in appreciation, awe, incredulousness, confusion and glee (and sometimes fright) as the Big Country puppets sauntered through town, stopping every now and then to give a hug, lift a frill, wave a frond or shake a pelican bum. Once the parade hit Male Oval the second shift of puppeteers took over after an initial 1 hour shift of extremely sweaty puppeteering. People were given a glimpse inside the puppets, looking at the internal structure and backpack frame, seeing how the controls worked. Children and adults alike greeted, hugged, smeared icecream on and attempted to converse with the BCP's. A group of children raced the Frill neck lizard to the Visitor centre. Families enjoying a quiet picnic were ambushed by a giant pelican. Indonesian Navy band members had their photos snapped with the Pandanus. All round merriment and hilarity was had by all. What a fantastic day, with fabulous minders, including Shelly Stansfield our wonderful BCP Project Assistant.
Life after Shinju
Many people initially could not identify the Gouldian Finch – an endangered species of the Dampier Peninsula – so the puppets proved to be educational in the context of the parade and later in the Broome Primary classrooms, when the finch visited the pre-primary and Grade 1 students. Since the performances new puppeteering opportunities have emerged. We were contacted by ‘Save the Children’ a community development organisation working throughout the Dampier Peninsula, who wanted to commission a performance by the puppets at a family event in One Arm Point.
The Big Country Puppets will perform at' Fun Food and Family' event which will be held on 23rd of October - 3:30pm till 6:30pm at One Arm Point as part of Children's Week.
Lastly -a huge thankyou to our fantastic team of puppeteers, minders, puppet makers and musicians who have worked at a hectic pace for two months to get this project off the ground.
Listen to the radio interview with Vanessa Mills from ABC Kimberley:
Big Country Puppets Shinju Matsuri Festival Broome 2013 from Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman on Vimeo.